Test Drive That New Ride Before You Buy

When you shop for new shoes you typically try on a few before you buy. Why? Because it’s all about fit. And there aren’t many things in life as uncomfortable as a shoe that doesn’t fit.

Now, imagine buying a new car without trying it on for size. This is your hard-earned money we’re talking about here. A test drive is your chance to find out if the car you’ve got your eye on is the one you should take home. And while you’re out on your drive, keep your eyes and ears open for all the right buying signs.

Comfort and Control

First things first — climb behind the wheel, take a minute to look around and get a feel for things. This is where attention to detail is key.

Sit right. Is the driver’s seat comfortable? Does your back feel supported? Is the arm rest right where you need it to be? Don’t forget to sit in the other seats, just to make sure your passengers will be comfy too.

Gauge the layout. Check out the primary controls, displays and gauges. Is everything in reach, easy to use and easy to read?

Gadget ready. We never leave home without our phone, mp3 player or Bluetooth devices. Most new vehicles understand this and are built for technology. Check to make sure the car you’re in is gadget-friendly and offers plenty of places to store your tech when your eyes are on the road.

Stop and Go

Once you know where things are and how they work, it’s time to hit the road, hit the gas and hit the brakes.

Step on it. Accelerating ability is a big deal. It’s not just about power — it’s about safety too. Does the vehicle have enough get-up-and-go to merge safely into highway traffic? Do you feel confident in your ability to pass?

Steering clear. How the wheel feels in your hands can say a lot about how a car handles the road. Stability is the name of the game. You should feel like you’re in control of the car, not the other way around.

Stopping power. The next stop on your dream-car test is to hit the brakes. To get a real feel, find a safe spot, like an empty parking lot, and brake hard from about 40 miles per hour. How smooth and straight was your stop?

Sight and Sounds

It’s not just about the ride. What you see and hear when you’re on the road matters too. Watch, listen and learn.

Seeing is believing. Check your visibility from the driver’s seat. Do you have a clear view of traffic all around you? Are there any major blind spots? The more you can see, the more confident behind the wheel you’ll be!

Ride Quietly. Wind, engine sounds, the hum of the tires — cars make noise. But you shouldn’t have to deal with it on the inside. Turn the stereo off and give things a listen. Is this the kind of quiet you’re looking for?

Need more help buying the right ride for you? Check out these 6 helpful tips. And remember, your dream car is out there. You might have to take a few for a spin before you find the right one, but it’s out there, waiting for you to drive it off the lot and into your life.

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Related Topics: Car Buying , Car Insurance , Car Safety , Safe Driving